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Sun Rays Reducing Energy Bills (17/09/08)
The Highland Council is using solar energy to cut power bills thanks to the installation of 64 photo-voltaic panels which have been mounted on the south facing roof of the Council Headquarters building on Glenurquhart Road in Inverness.
The £57,000 cost has been part funded by the Government Low Carbon Building Programme which offers support to projects which demonstrate community benefit. Solar Technologies and Hydro Contracting, under the direction of McGregor Construction, carried out the work.
The panels, which generate 10kWp, are expected to produce an average of 9,000kWh each year and 4T CO2. The payback to the Council will be 18 years and the life expectancy of the system is 25-30 years.
Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Sandy Park said: “Council headquarters has been chosen as a flagship project because it is our 11th highest energy consuming building. We are committed to tackling high fuel use and getting part funding for this project is a real bonus. The system includes a display panel in the Council lounge which shows at a glance the amount being generated, cumulative amounts and carbon savings. This screen has been a talking point amongst my fellow Councillors as well as visitors and staff so the whole system is generating a lot of interest as well as power.”
Recently appointed Chairman of the Council’s Climate Change Working Group, Councillor Michael Foxley welcomed the new panels he said: “This is an impressive start of a wide range of practical measures we will be introducing that will save money and reduce our carbon output. The next step is for us to roll out a programme of further improvements aimed at reducing energy consumption in a wide range of buildings we own and operate across the Highlands.”
A further 32 solar panel heating projects are proposed to be installed – mainly in schools – before April, next year, at a cost of £450,000. The Council receives 50% of this cost from the UK Government.